Hatchling Husbandry

Here you will learn what products we use and how we care for all of our hatchlings.


We keep all of our species, and subspecies, separated. This allows us to provide the absolute best care and ensure great health to all of our tortoises.

Products We Use

Enclosure

image185

Husky 54-gallon Tote (for hatchlings up to 6 months old)

Homemade Tortoise Table (for babies up to 1-1.5 years old)

Substrate

image186

Humid Hides

image189

Nighttime Heat

image190

Enclosure Set-up

Substrate

50/50 mixture of organic topsoil and Coco Coir.

Depth of 5-6" (this allows burrowing).

Top layer of Forest Floor.

Misted daily to maintain humidity.

Temperatures

Basking spot is 95-100 degrees Fahrenheit (35-38 degrees Celsius).

Ambient temperature on cooler side is 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius).


We use a Ceramic Heat Emitter when needed at night to keep overnight temperatures at 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius) in each enclosure.


We do not use, and also discourage the use of, "heat pads" or "heat rocks." Those items are a risk to burn the tortoise, and are a fire danger if they get too hot inside the enclosure.

Humidity

Some subspecies such as the ibera require higher humidity. We keep the humidity in their enclosures at 80%.


Other subspecies such as the terrestris, marokkensis, and cyrenaica, need drier and hotter environments and cannot handle excessive moisture. To avoid respiratory illnesses, we keep their enclosures around 50% humidity, only misting the top layer of substrate a couple times a week to imitate a light rain.

Other Hides and Decor

At least two darker, cooler hides are provided.


Other decor provides variety of terrain and landscape.

Security Camera

A security camera allows us to check in on our hatchlings at any time.

Hatchling Care

Daily Soaking

image196

We soak all of our hatchlings every morning in warm water for 30 minutes. This helps keep them hydrated and maintains healthy kidney function.

Food and Water

image197

A variety of food is provided, with something different for breakfast each morning. Food is provided after soaking, and is left for part of the day so hatchlings can graze.


Various items we feed include: natural weeds and flowers that we grow from seed, Mazuri (moistened), spineless prickly pear cactus (and cactus fruit), and "store bought" organic leafy greens (dandelion, romaine lettuce, collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, escarole, endive, and radicchio).


Fresh water is provided using a small terra cota plant saucer. It's shallow to prevent drowning, and wide enough to crawl into, should the hatchlings wish to soak themselves.

Calcium

image198

We keep a cuttlebone in every enclosure. All the babies nibble at them when they need calcium.


Calcium powder is also lightly sprinkled on top of their breakfast twice a week.

Enclosure Maintenance

We spot clean our enclosures daily, usually while hatchlings are soaking. We remove any feces and uneaten crumbs of food.

Misting

image199

We use a pump sprayer to mist each enclosure (some daily, others weekly). This imitates a light rain.

Handling

We only handle our hatchlings when soaking them, cleaning their enclosures, or the occasional visit to the Vet when needed.


We otherwise leave them alone in their habitats to prevent stressing them out. 

Make Your Own Humid Hide

Materials Needed

image200

- Plastic container. (We buy ours at Home Depot).

- Ruler

- Sharpie marker

- Cutting blade

- Sphagnum moss

Mark and Cut the Entrance

image201

Use the ruler and Sharpie marker to draw the entrance to be cut.

Using the cutting blade, slice gently along the marked line.

BE CAREFUL. Not only are you using a sharp blade, but plastic can crack.

Fill with Sphagnum Moss

image202

Take handfuls of sphagnum moss, wet in warm water, squeeze any excess water, and place in the humid hide until it's almost full.

Place Into Enclosure

image203

Keep the sphagnum moss moist and warm at all times.

Easy Access

image204

These particular containers are great because of their pop-open lids, allowing for easy access to tortoises, maintenance of the moss, and cleaning.